The Instigator
Pro (for)
7 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
0 Points

Resolved: Marijuana should be legalized for recreational purposes.

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Post Voting Period
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after 1 vote the winner is...
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/20/2013 Category: Politics
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,137 times Debate No: 29374
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (1)
Votes (1)




Resolved: Marijuana should be legalized for recreational purposes.

I will be affirming this topic today, because my view (at least for the purposes of this debate) is that the decriminalization of marijuana has no place in society.

Here are my conditions for a successful debate:
Round 1 - agreement to debate, introduction
Round 2 - definitions, burdens, values, and contention-level arguments
Round 3 - refutations to the arguments and conditions created in Round 2
Round 4 - summary and crystallization of the key arguments and voting issue

Here are a couple of observations hat I have with respect to the previous structure. NEITHER PRO NOR CON MAY DO THE FOLLOWING THINGS. These should be automatic grounds for disqualification:
1. beginning contention-level arguments, definitions, values, burdens, or observations in Round 1
2. doing any refutations of the opponent's arguments in Round 2 (ex: Con cannot spend his/her Round 2 speech refuting my arguments from Round 2)
3. trolling, loitering, or being disrespectful to the opponent

And finally, a couple of expectations for the round (so long as my opponent agrees to them):
1. use evidence, statistics, and examples to illustrate arguments
2. follow through with impacts to arguments, clearly defining how each links back to the values and burdens stated at the beginning of the Round 2 speeches
3. sign-post arguments (ex: using contentions or benefits)

I will NOT make any definitions or specific arguments until the Con accepts this debate.

I look forward to this debate!


I thank my opponent for creating this debate and will be taking the position that marijuana should be legalized.
Debate Round No. 1


I affirm. Definitions:

marijuana: a plant used to produce hemp fiber and as a slightly psychotropic drug
legalized: (of something that was illegal) authorized by local, state, or federal law
recreational: taken on occasional basis for enjoyment

My standard is NET BENEFITS IN THE UNITED STATES. This is a broad and universally accepted framework that gives Pro and Con equal access to the ballot. Thus, whichever side produces the highest benefit and lowest cost (to society, to the individual, etc.) in America should win today's debate.

My plan is that marijuana be legalized on a state-by-state basis for citizens. Anyone who had a perfect or nearly perfect driving record, completed high school, and was 21 years of age or older could purchase up to four grams of marijuana per week and have up to one ounce in his/her home at any time. As this is a public-forum-type round, I do not have to prove solvency for my plan; this is my way of fulfilling the resolution and maximizing benefits. I do NOT have to argue that marijuana should be legalized at the federal level, nor do I need to argue that there should not be regulations on the drug.

The Pro burden is that the benefits of my plan (see above) outweigh the costs.

The Con burden is that the costs of keeping marijuana a legally prohibited drug overwhelmingly outweigh the benefits.

Contention 1: Legalization of marijuana creates economic benefit. In a economic situation like the one from which the U.S. suffers today, marijuana helps economies to grow and deficits to plummet. Subpoint A: Monetary benefits. According to a study conducted by Harvard professor Dr. Jeffrey Miron, replacing marijuana prohibition with a system of taxation similaro that integrated on alcoholic and tobacco products would result in annual savings and revenues of between $10 and $14 billion per year. Over 500 other economists have endorsed Miron’s study and note that legalization could help schools, recreational centers, and the debt. Furthermore, Miron’s study points out that removing the prohibitive status on marijuana would result in saving $7.7 billion in government expenditures on prohibition enforcement: $2.4 billion at the federal leve and $5.3 billion at the state and local levels. The amount of money accumulated or saved by the mere legalization of cannabis should be an alluring option for the U.S., particularly in its current state of economic stagnation. Subpoint B: Ease on taxpayers. According to the US Department of Justice, nearly one in eight drug prisoners in America are behind bars for marijuana-related offenses. This means that about 45,000 prisons are behind bars for cannabis-related offenses, totalling a burden of over $1 billion on US taxpayers to incarcerate Americans. To increase the quality of life for lower- and middle- income Americans, state and local governments should stop prohibition on marijuana and instead regulate it. This will decrease taxes, improve local economies, and encourage growth.

Contention 2: Legalization solves other crimes. Removing laws that prohibit marijuana use inherently decreases burdens on society and protects innocent citizens. Subpoint A: Legalization solves other crimes, like murder and rape. According to analyst R.A. Scott, “efforts to arrest and send drug users to jail take money and personnel from local police departments away from solving other crimes... That would go far to making the country safer and would cost less in the long run.” The U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics shows taht each marijuana arrest takes about 17 minutes to complete. Multiplying the amount of misdemeanors and felonies as marijuana-related crimes by the amount of minutes per crime creates an astounding 42 days of wasted law enforcement time per year. These 42 days could be used to solve murder, rape, theft, insider trading, or other high crimes that negatively affect people’s lives. However, they are instead being used to track down and capture plausibly inoffensive potheads, which represents both a burden on American society and a corruption of law enforcement. Subpoint B: Illegal marijuana forces customers to interact with criminal underground. Presently, cannabis is sold by dealers who have connections with the “underworld”. The legalization of cannabis will help facilitate the sale of the drug in establishments like ‘coffee houses’ and ‘gas stations’. This will shift the sale of cannabis away from the dangerous, coercive underworld and to a well-regulated market that is determined to protect the health and well-being of buyers. The severance of the ‘criminal link’ in the status quo will ensure that the users of the drug no longer need to come into contact with organized crime.

Contention Three: Criminalization violates our intuitions. Subpoint A: Legalization is more consistent with our intuitions. According to a 2012 Gallup Poll, about 54% of Americans support the legalization of recreational marijuana on some magnitude, up from 49% just seven years ago. Considering that my planputs regulations and limits on the legalization of the drug, the 54% number may be even higher for the purposes of this resolution. When looking to net benefits for American society, we should look to the side that is more consistent with what people want. Since more people want the drug to be legalized than otherwise, it only makes sense to remove some of the laws and penalties against it. Subpoint B: Legalization upholds rights. According to philosophical analyst John Mearsheimer, “the state has no business in regulating or deciding what people can put into their bodies, so long as the substance does not hurt or negatively affect their peers. Keeping marijuana illegal is a violation of people’s basic, implied rights, not only as they are listed in the Constitution but also as they are applied to issues like smoking cigarettes, owning registered hunting weapons, and having abortions.” The United States is grounded upon a system of freedmo and recognization of rights over restrictions. This premise can only be upheld and maintained if some of the criminal laws against recreational cannabis are removed. Upholding the Constitution is paramount to this round, because all net benefits and costs to American society are based upon the document. Our Founding Fathers, previous presidents, and current leaders all approve or have approved of giving individuals basic rights that do not show detriment to people who do not agree with or approve of the effects. Thus, it is in the best interests of American society to legalize the drug for societal, natural, and constitutional benefit.

Thus, I affirm.


KnowItAll forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2


To allow for an equal debate, I forfeit this round.


KnowItAll forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by youmils03 3 years ago
KnowItAll - Did you mean to take the position that marijuana should NOT be legalized? Because I have set up in the debate in such a way that I am affirming the resolution while you are negating.

If you do not agree to these terms, we will forfeit the remaining rounds and call it a tie. Unfortunately, I am so intellectually and personally detached from the "Con" side of this debate that I am unwilling to switch sides with you.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by tmar19652 3 years ago
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Total points awarded:70 
Reasons for voting decision: Forfeit